Monday, November 9, 2009

Self Pity

I never saw a wild thing
Sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough,
Without ever having felt sorry for itself.

~ D.H. Lawrence

I love feeling sorry for myself. There. I said it. It's true. Not that I want to make it my pastime of choice, but I slip into this rhythm where it feels comfortable to be wallowing in self pity, even though I know it's only making things worse. It's like that sore tooth that you can't seem to leave alone. You press it with your tongue even though you know it's only going to make it hurt more. And you feel justified in your pain.

I also love being a martyr. I want everyone to know how I'm suffering because of them, or just because of life in general. I want people to feel sorry for me, especially because I'm feeling sorry for myself. But then I think that they would just be pitying me for my lack of a spine, or lack of gumption, or whatever it is we Americans are supposed to have.

It's a daily battle that I wage with myself. I want to come off as stoic, as someone strong and impenetrable, but I also want acknowledgment that I am suffering inside. It's one that I've been dealing with a lot lately.

On her blog and in her books, Mary Southerland talks about "sandpaper people," those who rub us the wrong way or even rub us raw some days. To me, the sandpaper people in my life are the ones who daily criticize me or talk about (and laugh at) me behind my back. I know it happens to everyone, but of course, my focus is mostly on myself. That's where it's hard for me to be selfless, to focus on others instead. I want to cry, "But aren't I important too? My feelings are hurt, and yet I'm supposed to be the one who turns the other cheek? Even when I don't get any apologies or even a reason for behavior directed towards me?" It's a constant struggle.

Then there's that little voice inside me that just rubs salt in the wound. What reason do you have to feel sorry for yourself? You have enough food to eat, enough clothes to wear, you're not in constant pain, you're not beaten, destitute, or even restricted by any physical abnormalities. That's when I most want to feel sorry for myself.

So what's a self-centered, mooning, disillusioned yet blithering idiot grown woman to do?

Put on her big girl panties and deal with it.

I've seen a poster shown on many blogs lately, the one with a crown and the words KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON. A reminder to keep our heads even when things aren't going our way. Especially when things aren't going our way. I've also heard many versions of "One day at a time," my favorite being "Just take the next step." (I know the peanut gallery is having a field day with this right about now.) Yet as sappy as it sounds, there are days when that's all I can do. Hey peanuts, at least it's something. It's at least a step in the right direction. A form of being proactive. A way of not letting the peanuts turkeys get me down.

Remember this?

I still like it. The art work may have gone out of "popular" style, but I still like the message. I like it even in the times when I don't like that I have to put it in practice myself. (Easier said than done, I admit.) And even though all I want to do right now at this minute is to feel sorry for myself and cry and pull the covers over my head, I'm going to try (I said try, not necessarily succeed) to just take the next step.

Blithering idiot signing off. Carry on. Calm or not.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Don't you wonder what people think they are accomplishing by talking behind your back? As I get older I care less and less what other people are saying about me. Hang in there! Thanks for the kind words on my blog.